Reviews

The Ballad Of Narayama

3

An epic one-way trip up a mountain

Shohei Imamura’s Palme d’Or winner is an epic about a superstitious rural community, whose septuagenarians are required to die by taking a one-way trip up a mountain. Its stately technique meshes with bizarre, often shocking material – infanticide, bestiality and actress Sumiko Sakamoto smashing her real teeth on-screen.

Yet Imamura subversively implies that such behaviour is no less weird than society’s rules. The result is equal parts sick comedy, OAP actioner and transcendental fable of intertwined faith and nature.

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